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September 20, 2002
Click for .jpg version of the mailer
The COVER that insults anyone who has lost money in this terrible market
The letter that never mentions he voted AGAINST the conformity bill
The provisions of the bill that he VOTED AGAINST
(ORANGE COUNTY, CA.) -- Arriving in thousands of households across his district, mailers from Assemblyman Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) would seem to bear good news for constituents concerned about their personal finances.
But you don't have to read the fine print to realize that the glossy piece on individual retirement accounts is hiding the real story.
"Your Nest Egg Just Got Bigger," blares a 48-point headline. A bird's nest lined with $20 blls sits above a subhead that announces "important retirement planning update."
The mailer, paid for by taxpayers and sent to voters in the 67th Assembly district, outlines changes made to bring state tax laws into "conformity" with the federal Roth IRA contribution limits.
Under the new conformity law, Californians will receive tax advantages for putting up to $3000 annually into Roth IRAs. By 2008, that amount will rise to $5000.
401(k) and 403(b) plans are now allowed up to $11,000 annually, with boosts coming in future years.
Harman voted against the tax conformity bill that is talked about in the mailer.
"If you ask the people who got this mailer, I think most would say that their nest eggs did not get bigger," said Assembly candidate Bill Orton (D-Seal Beach), who faces Harman in November's election. "This mailer is not only deceptive, but it adds insult to injury to the people who have lost tremendous amounts of money."
As an example of losses to retirement account values that people have suffered over the past year, Orton recounts a conversation he had at a local butcher shop with a resident of Huntington Harbor.
"This gentleman is just an ordinary business owner, has a machine shop in Maywood," said Orton. "His earnings report showed his IRA dropped from $35,000 to just fifteen hundred dollars. He lost 95% of the value of his portfolio in a single quarter. And this was a broad-based investment fund."
To restore investor confidence in the capital markets, the legislature passed a package of bills to reform how accounting and audits are done.
Harman also voted against the accounting reform bills.
"Mr. Harman didn't vote to reform the tax laws or to clean up corruption," said Orton. "At the very least, the mail that taxpayers pay for ought to reflect the true public record."
For more information on Bill Orton's campaign for state Assembly, visit http://billyorton.com or call the candidate at (562) 598-9630.
For more information, write an email message directly to Bill.